The U.S. Center for SafeSport is investigating USA Hockey president Jim Smith's handling of sexual misconduct and abuse allegations against a youth coach, The Athletic's Katie Strang reports.
Smith is being investigated for turning a blind eye when Tom "Chico" Adrahtas, a Chicago-area coach, allegedly sexually abused multiple junior players - specifically in the 1980s. Smith held various positions with the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois (AHAI) during this time, including president from 1985-88.
A former owner of one of the clubs that Adrahtas coached says he told Smith in 1989 that he believed Adrahtas was committing sexual abuse. A former AHAI board member said they believe Smith was aware of concerns about Adrahtas' behavior. Multiple others agreed, according to Strang.
"The U.S. Center for SafeSport has advised us they have taken jurisdiction and are investigating allegations that people within the AHAI, including Jim Smith, were aware of sexual misconduct by Thomas Adrahtas and did not take action," USA Hockey executive director Pat Kelleher told Strang via a spokesperson.
Smith denied these allegations earlier this May.
"In my time as president of AHAI, there were no reports alleging misconduct by Tom Adrahtas," he said via a spokesperson.
Smith was elected president of USA Hockey in 2015 and re-elected in 2018.
Adrahtas has a history of facing sexual abuse allegations. In 2010, a former player sent a letter to the AHAI, saying Adrahtas sexually assault him in 1984. Adrahtas did not attend the hearing and was suspended indefinitely as a result, but he continued to coach at Robert Morris University for eight more seasons. It's unclear whether the AHAI told anyone from RMU about the letter or the hearing, or if it alerted law enforcement.
In 2018, former junior player Mike Sacks sent a letter to the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) detailing sexual abuse by Adrahtas over a 20-month span when he was a teenager. RMU is an ACHA member.
The U.S. Center for SafeSport was established in 2017 following the USA Gymnastics sexual abuse scandal, during which former doctor Larry Nassar was accused of assaulting over 250 young women and girls. The organization has been investigating Adrahtas since 2018.
Adrahtas denied allegations when he was reached by phone in February.